The Unsolved Murder of Karina Holmer

“I’ve got the old man’s car,
I’ve got a jazz guitar,
I’ve got a tab at Zanzibar,
Tonight that’s where I’ll be…”

In 1996 I was only about five years old. It was the year that the first Pokemon game came out, and the Nintendo 64 was released. Dolly the sheep was the first successful mammal clone, and Bill Clinton would secure his second term in office. In Texas, the 9 year old namesake of the Amber Alert was murdered.

In 1996 Karina Holmer thought she was living a dream. The young woman from a small village in Sweden had always had big dreams, and after winning the lottery, she used her winnings to move to America for a summer. The city life, night clubs, new kinds of people and places, a cultural explosion; Karina was ready for an adventure. Tragically, what she found was a nightmare.

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Karina decided that the best way to plan her trip was to become an Au Pair, a sort of nanny to families who would offer boarding and a stipend in return. Most Au Pair’s worked through agency’s which trained the women in childcare, secured visas, and screened employers. However Karina went a different route. She arrived in the US with no visa and fake ID in March.

She began working for a wealthy artist couple living in Dover Massachusetts. Frank Rapp was a commercial photographer, and his wife Susan was a painter. Frank was well off enough that he could afford a studio in the Fort Point neighborhood of Boston. During the week Karina took care of the Rapp children and chores, but on the weekends she was free to travel into the city to party, and spend the nights at Frank’s studio. Friday and Saturday nights Karina would be downtown drinking and dancing until the wee hours of the morning. Friends and family back home in Sweden thought she was having the time of her life. The only indication otherwise was her sudden announcement to family that she would be cutting her American adventure short, and cryptic letter written to a friend in May; “Something terrible has happened. I’ll reveal more when I get home.” Her family believed Karina was returning home because she had tired of housework. Only her friend knew that something else was troubling Karina. But no one will ever know just what it was.

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A photo taken at Zanzibar in 1996

On June 21st Karina went out to a popular club at Boylston Place called Zanzibar. It was a prime hangout for young foreigners with fake IDs. She was seen several times by friends throughout the night, each time chronologically more intoxicated. Before close she was briefly passed out in the club bathroom, and was escorted out by a bouncer after the club cut her off. In the alley outside, Karina struck up a conversation with a local homeless man, whom she happily danced with. Then she was gone.

The next few hours became a hazy mix of possible sightings, as authorities would later try to track her journey. One friend claimed to have seen Karina get into a car with a group of men. Another said Karina had told them she was heading to a private party. Someone swore they saw her walking down Tremont Street in the twilight before dawn. Wherever Karina went that night, we know where she ended up. Her torso was found in a dumpster behind 1901 Boylston Street, sawed in half above the hip, wrapped in trash bags. It was only discovered because a man had ripped the bag while rummaging for cans on Sunday morning.

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The crime scene as it was investigated.

Karina’s body was naked and washed clean, even her makeup had been scrubbed off (perhaps an attempt to get rid of evidence). He neck showed signs of strangulation, and she had been neatly sawed in half with something like a circular saw, a straight cut other than a hiccup at her hipbone. That kind of cut would have been fairly easy; one would only have to cut through one bone, the spine. Her lower half was never recovered, and police considered the possibility it had been destroyed to hide evidence of a sexual crime or secret pregnancy. The only evidence left by the suspect was a single partial fingerprint inside the trashbag, and no matches were ever found.

Detective Tommy O’Leary immediately began investigating, talking to everyone and anyone Karina may have been with that night. It wasn’t long before he would realize it would be a case like no other, and it would haunt him forever.

One of O’Leary’s first leads came in the form of a bizarre subject, one of the last people to see Karina alive. Herb Whitten became known as “the man with the dog” after several people told the police they had seen Karina talking to a man who wore matching Superman shirts with his Great Pyrenees. Whitten told police that he enjoyed the attention that he got from women while he walked in the city, but that he knew nothing about Karina. He also had a good alibi: Whitten had been pulled over for speeding on his way home to Andover that night. It simply didn’t seem possible he would have had the time to have already dismembered a body and dumped it near Fenway. Whether he was involved or not Whitten may have taken the truth to his grave. He committed suicide only about a year later.

Excluding Whitten as a suspect, the police next began to look at Karina’s employer with more scrutiny. The rumor from other Au Pairs was that Frank was a sleazy guy, a “creep”. Neither Frank or his wife could provide a verifiable alibi for where they had been the night Karina was murdered, and both were increasingly hostile and uncooperative toward police. Even more suspiciously, Dover police were called to the Rapp residence for a completely different reason the following Monday. There was a fire in the dumpster on the property shared by Frank and neighbors. Boston police worked with Dover to collect samples from the charred rubbish, but none tested positive for blood or human remains. Perhaps it was just another of many strange coincidences.

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The green line is Boylston Street

It’s been over 20 years since Karina was murdered, and her case has long gone cold.

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Boston’s Mysterious Vanishing Men, part 2

To read part 1 please click here

To view an interactive map of all cases click here

A note from the author Cryptid/Elise:

It has been almost a year since I wrote a blog post called “Boston’s Mysterious Vanishing Men” and it has been an incredible journey for me since then. I have experienced heartbreak in talking more with loved ones of the men I wrote about, anxiety over sharing my work to a larger and larger audience, and pride in my readers and my city in working to find solutions to this bizarre problem. I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not have an answer, and I do not know what is really happening. I do not know if these water deaths are accidental or intentional, preventable or inevitable. But I believe that each of the men I write about has a story that deserves to be told, and that it just might help us stop these tragedies in the future. 

I apologize profoundly for taking so long to write another post. It has been a difficult year for me, with many personal and health related problems keeping me from investing the time that I believe these cases deserve. Finally feeling strong enough to delve back into this work, I bring to you a part 2 of “Vanishing Men” As you may notice, many of these cases occurred outside of Boston, but there are incredible connections and similarities. It is my hope that these cases combined with the others can start to piece together this puzzle more and more until perhaps some day the mystery is solved. I want to give a final reminder as you read however, that these are not merely “cases” but also individuals, people with loved ones. Please read and respond to these posts with utmost respect. Thank you.

The cases so far:

Jerald Gelb (44) 8/2001

John Daverio (49)  3/2003

Daniel Mun (20) 12/2003

David W. Crockett (45) 1/2004

Dustin Willis (26) 3/2007

John Pike (23) 6/2007

Neo Babson Maximus/Charles M. Allen Jr. (22) 10/2007

William Hurley (24) 10/2009

Eugene Losik (26) 2/2010

Justin Marshall (30) 6/2010

David Mark (24) 2/2011

Christopher Martin (24) 12/2011

Franco Garcia (21) 2/2012

D’Anthony Green (23) 7/2012

Pedro Colon-Rodriguez (69) 10/2012

Jonathan Dailey (23) 10/2012

Joseph A. Gage (32) 1/2013

Eric Munsell (24) 2/2014

Shilo Morgado (36) 8/2015

Josue Quispe (18) 10/2015

Dennis Njoroge (21) 11/2015

Zachary Marr (22) 2/2016

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Jerald Gelb had a Master’s degree in computer science and was a former employee at IBM. He suffered a mental breakdown after being let go from his job in his 30’s, and his family members suspected he was battling schizophrenia. On August 16th 2001 he showed up unexpected at his parents home in Brookline, Ma. He spent the night, but was gone by approximately 5am the next morning when his parents checked on him. Jerald was 40 when he went missing, wearing a red sweatshirt, and has not been heard from since. The area he disappeared from is very close to the Muddy River, a small offshoot of the Charles.

If you have any info on Jerald please call the Brookline Police Dept. at (617) 730-2222

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Daniel Mun was a 20 year old from Kirksville Missouri. He was a biology student at MIT and a member of a frat house. He was good at sports, particularly tennis, and was remembered as very friendly. Daniel went missing on December 5th 2003 at about 4am, and may have been intoxicated at that time. Daniel’s roommate recalled that he did not seem stressed or sad before his disappearance, though there was apparently a concerning note found in his computer suggesting a suicide was possible. Daniel’s body was found under the ice near the Harvard Bridge in March of 2004. His MIT ID was in his pocket, and he was wearing inline skates (not ice skates). Daniel’s death was ruled a suicide.

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David Wayne Crockett was a service tech at an auto shop in Wareham, MA. He was an avid mechanic and loved car racing and motorcycles. He went missing in January of 2004 after last being seen at a restaurant near the water of Buttermilk bay. Three months later on April 3 2004, his body was discovered under a dock at the Continental Marina only 100 yards away. The water had supposedly been frozen until recently and authorities said it appeared to have been in the water for some time, though the marina owner described the body as “very visible”. David’s death was ruled an accidental drowning.

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John Pike was a 23 year old Syracuse University graduate in Public Communications, where he made Deans List and honors society. He was an athlete and avid musician, the drummer for a band called Ra Ra Riot. In June 2007 his band had played a show and was attending an after party in Fairhaven MA. Several friends saw John step outside at about 3am, but were concerned when he did not return later. His girlfriend received a text from him around this time saying he loved her, but this was not unusual. The house backs up to a Buzzards Bay beach, but Pike was notorious for his dislike of water and the tide was out. Later on that day at about 3pm John’s phone was found in shallow water on the west side of Wilbur Point. The next day his body was found about 200 yards away in 7 feet of water. Police said no foul play was suspected. Ra Ra Riot was enjoying growing success and John was passionate about the band.

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Charles M. Allen Jr. was a senior psychology major at Umass Dartmouth. In his past he had been a relatively famous online gamer, well known for his abilities in the  Valve game Half-Life. His passions shifted in college toward Tennis, and his dream was to become a professional player. “Charlie” had recently legally changed his name to “Neo Babson Maximus” perhaps in a effort to have a ‘famous persona’. His loved ones still knew him as Charlie, and insisted his name change was unrelated to his disappearance or mental illness. Charlie suffered from Bipolar disorder, though until not long before his disappearance it was well managed with medication. The trouble seemed to begin when Charlie’s sister contacted him asking him why he had deleted his facebook. Charlie became alarmed and insisted he had not. He told her that he believed he was in danger after sending some emails to “important people” and that she needed to be careful. He also said that the “answer” was in the “periodic table” then hung up. He later left a voicemail on his parents phone that sounded as if he was running through the woods. He was not heard from again until several days later when he reportedly broke into the second floor of a strangers house at 3am on October 13th 2007. He seemed confused and told the stranger he thought he was at his friends house, then he hurried off. Charlie’s car was found abandoned at his University’s parking lot, his backpack was found on Slocum Rd. and his shoes were found off Chase Rd.

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His computer at home had been completely wiped. He has never been found.

If you have any info on Charlie please contact the Dartmouth Police at (508) 910-1700

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Justin Marshall was a star high school football player, went to West Point, and graduated from Notre Dame. He then graduated from Suffolk Law with honors, and was working at Boston City Hall in Mayor Menino’s legal department. In June of 2006 Justin was out with friends in the Charlestown neighborhood on Pier 6, when the others in the group realized he was missing around 1am. His body was found in the water nearby. There has been little follow up to indicate a cause of death or other info.

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Christopher Martin lived in New Bedford and worked at Barden’s Boat Yard in Marion. He was 24 years old  and intoxicated when he was last seen in Downtown New Bedford at 1:30 am on December 17th 2011. His girlfriend reported him missing at 3:45 am. His body was discovered in the water behind a seafood restaurant the next morning, tangled in several life preservers. Authorities found this suspicious, as it appeared that someone may have tried to help Christopher. The stairs to the water near where he was found had been ripped up. No further information is known at this time.

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D’Anthony Green was a 23 year old student at Suffolk University. He was very athletic and active, as well as artistic, enjoying everything from photography to skydiving. Because he lived alone, the exact date he went missing is unknown. He was found in the water, having been there ‘several days’, wearing his running pants under his regular pants, as if he had been coming or going from a work out. D’Anthony was a very capable swimmer with no history of suicidal tendencies, leaving his family suspicious about his death. Despite this, police ruled his death a suicide.

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Pedro Colon-Rodriguez had immigrated from Puerto Rico to Boston. He had five children with his late wife, whose death hit him hard. In his recent years he had become a heavy drinker, and spent most of his time with Cambridge’s homeless community. He was well liked for his giving nature. In early October 2012 Pedro went to Cambridge Hospital for treatment of a fall related injury. He was not seen again until his body was discovered in the Charles River monday the 8th. He was still wearing his hospital bracelet. Pedro was found the day before Jonathan Daily, leading to his case being largely underreported.

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Joseph A. Gage was a 32 year old New Hampshire native with a degree in Mathematics from University of Hartford. He was athletic, a musically gifted guitar player, and loved to travel. On January 1st 2013 at about 3am, witnesses reported seeing Joseph crossing the Harvard Bridge with another man. Halfway across they hailed a cab, but instead of getting in Joseph apparently intentionally hurled himself over the rail of the bridge and into the Charles. Despite an intense search and theoretically knowing the exact location of the body, Joseph was not recovered until March 14th. One site described his death as a “tragic accident”.

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Shiloh Morgado was from Vallejo California, and lived in Westborough Ma. He had two children. Shiloh was known by many to be a “tech wizard” and was happiest while doing things like building his own computers. His body was discovered near Quincy Yacht Club on August 30th 2015, at around 6am. No foul play was suspected.

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Already the similarities between these cases and those in the previous post may be jumping out at you. You’ll notice in this group several technologically gifted men, several musicians, and many very intelligent individuals.

There are multiple men missing in a cluster around Buzzard’s Bay that I found intriguing.

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Again, as far as I can tell, the locations of these similar deaths are not sporadic, and do not happen along every coast or waterway. There seems to be several “hot spots” in Massachusetts alone, indicating that whom or what is causing the deaths may have a sort of “territory”. Whether it is a single migrating cause or two separate causes I cannot say.

I have charted the cases I have researched so far here to better illustrate the cluster areas.

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As most of Eastern Massachusetts is surrounded or in close proximity to water, it stands to reason that other cities should be seeing similar deaths if this was a “normal” occurrence, particularly areas with high populations of young people and bars (cities such as Salem and Provincetown come to mind). And if this was a problem related to college aged drinkers, surely students in the western MA college areas have many lakes and rivers that could pose dangers?

The average temperature of Boston Harbor varies greatly between October and March (the peak months for disappearances). Here are some stats:

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Even at it’s coldest, Boston’s water never dips below freezing point at 32°, nor does it come close to the estimated 28° of the Atlantic when the Titanic sank. Death from hypothermia in freezing water can happen in as little as 15 minutes, but even in that small window it seems that someone could be crying out for help or trying to climb out of the water.

Normally alcohol in the system increases ones chances of hypothermia, but there is evidence to suggest that sometimes the exact opposite is true. Charles Joughin survived the 28° water after the Titanic for an astounding two hours until a lifeboat picked him up. Joughin was an avid drinker, carrying a flask with him everywhere, and said that thanks to his intoxication he barely felt the cold.

While this may be an unusual case, it does make one think. I have never heard of a case of a drunk college kid falling off a pier, climbing back out, laughing it off and going home to warm up. (If this has happened to you or someone you know, please let me know in the comments.) My only other thought on the matter is that perhaps in many of the cases the men suffer shock from the coldness of the water almost immediately as they hit it, causing them to gasp deeply and inhale water, speeding up the drowning process. Still, it seems unlikely that so many men would not survive the critical moments after entering the water, as hypothermia is a slower process.

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I hope you have found part 2 of my research interesting and informative, and I hope you join me in the comments for discussion! Thank you.

 

 

Some More Thoughts on Zachary Marr

“Empty handed I entered the world and barefoot will I leave it”

The words were scrawled on yellow columns, one word to each, which were lining the walkway I traveled down. The graffiti seemed particularly fitting for the occasion. I was walking down a path to the place where Zachary Marr had died.

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The quote was a shortened, bastardization of a quote by a Japanese Monk, Kozan Ichikyo. He wrote it the day that he died in 1360. The full version is

“Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going —
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.”

The winding path sandwiched between TD Garden and the Zakim bridge was presumably the same as the one Zach had walked just a few weeks before. I tried to imagine what he was thinking or seeing on that bitterly cold February night. Had he also read the words along the posts? Or were those written sometime after he had gone into the water? The sidewalk, if one followed it, led to a wide area directly beneath the Zakim, where the Charles River’s salty water lapped quietly at the cement footings.

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It was an almost pleasant area by the light of day, a secret seeming place. Across the water to the right, one of the State Police buildings abutted the water, their patrol boats docked about only a few hundred feet from where Zach Marr had been that night. Despite the location, no one except the cameras attached to the bridges underbelly had seen what happened. Or at least, no one that we know of. For a reason we still cannot understand, Zack seemingly walked to this place, then along a catwalk under the bridge that runs parallel to the train tracks, separated by a fence.

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The catwalk ends in a dead end, while the train tracks continue across a steel beam bridge.

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Zach then apparently (according to reports of the cctv footage which has not been released) climbed up onto the railings by the water, and stepped off into the darkness.

I would give nearly anything to see that footage. Not for any sick pleasure or macabre entertainment; I suffered from nightmares for some time about Zach. In fact, the idea of seeing the video fills me with a sense of unrivaled dread. But something in me needs to see it, in some strange way. Maybe I feel like I will learn something I couldn’t understand before? Maybe I believe I will feel somehow vindicated? What was he wearing when he went over that railing? Was he moving clumsily, drunkenly? Or in the same surefooted, trancelike state I had seen on so many other eerie cctv videos of similar cases? Did it look like a simple accidental slip? Did it look like a resolute suicide? And even if I had these answers, what would they mean?

As I walked along the length of the catwalk I noticed the signs of homeless people’s camps; beds made of old blankets and cardboard, snack wrappers and cups, even some articles of clothing that could have been anyones. (Zach’s? Someone who was there that night? If he was somehow murdered, a suspect?)

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The weather was warmer now, more bearable, survivable. There was probably no one else around the night Zach was here. It had been the coldest night of the year in Boston in recent memory; hypothermia could happen in only a short time and most of the cities homeless population would have had to seek shelter in more protected places. Still, I wondered if the police had tried talking to any of the regulars around North Station. I doubted it.

For most people Zach’s death was quickly accepted as just another accident. Just another drunk college age boy who wandered off into the water. I of course have difficulty accepting that. That theory leaves too many unanswered questions, and is simply too similar to the hundreds of other cases like it. I feel in my gut that something else happened that night, that there are still more puzzle pieces that need to be collected and fitted together before we can understand what.

Did you know any of these people?

I am reaching out to the public for information on a list of people who have either gone missing or died in Massachusetts. If you knew any of them and can give me any info, even if it’s just to tell me you do not want them included in my investigations, please reach out to me. The list is comprised of people that might fit with my previous investigated cases, and most I could find very little info about.

Jerald Gelb (40) Aug. 16 2001

David W. Crockett (45) April 3 2004

Daniel Mun (20) Dec. 5 2004

John Pike (23) June 2nd 2007

Charles M. Allen Jr. (22) Oct. 13 2007

Justin Marshall (30) June 6 2010

Christopher Martin (24) Dec. 17 2011

D’Anthony Green (23) July 30th 2012

Joseph A. Gage (32) Jan. 1 2013

Shilo Morgado (36) Aug. 30 2015

If you can tell me about any of these men, or if you knew someone else that you feel might have been a victim of the Boston Drownings, please comment or message/contact me. I will keep any info you want private. Thank you.

The Haunted Frequency

On February 25th 2016 I was awoken abruptly from my sleep at about 3am. I couldn’t identify at first what woke me, all I knew was that I had an overwhelmingly bad feeling. It didn’t take me long to realize that a thunderstorm was raging outside. It was quite loud, and the lightning lit up my entire room in a way I have never encountered before. Despite this, I felt very sure that it wasn’t the noise or light that had woken me. Instead I felt it was the sickening sense of dread that inexplicably hung over me. I have never been disturbed by thunderstorms before; on the contrary I have always found them exciting, sitting on my porch growing up and watching them roll in. But on this early morning something seemed very wrong. I got out of bed and stood in my room uncertainly, trying to decide what to do. Now on top of the unexplained fear other symptoms were emerging: nausea, heart palpitations. Soon the feeling of panic was smothering, and it seemed to be filling my room to the point that some part of my brain begged me to run away, to flee outside into the storm. Luckily I had an epiphany after remembering something I had recently learned, and I fought the urge. Then suddenly, the feeling was gone as abruptly as it had come. The storm quieted, the thunder became more distant. I slipped back into bed and fell asleep wondering what the hell had just happened to me.

The February 25th storm was pretty severe for the Boston area. It brought hurricane force winds recorded at up to 76mph, knocked power out for thousands, and downed many trees. But I think it also caused another phenomenon that few may be aware of.

Sound is measured in frequency of waves. This chart gives an idea of who can hear what.

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Humans have a mid range of audible hearing. But just because we can’t hear other frequencies doesn’t mean they aren’t there. And that means they can still effect us. Infrasound is a very low range of frequency, anything below 30 HZ. That means the waves are farther apart. Giant animals like elephants and blue whales use infrasound to communicate, possibly as more of a ‘feeling’ in their bodies than an actual sound. It’s hard of course for humans to try to imagine something they are literally incapable of experiencing. But some humans can experience infrasound in a different way.

Because of infrasound’s frequency it can effect our bodies. In the 1980s an engineer named Vic Tandy was working late at the Coventry University Laboratories, long rumored to be haunted. Suddenly he noticed a ghostly gray blob in his peripherals. He looked to it quickly, but it had vanished. Not one to be easily spooked, Vic set out to find a scientific explanation for the hauntings. He noticed that materials he was working with were vibrating, and he got the idea to look into the possibility of low frequency sound waves. Sure enough he found the culprit in the shape of an old fan in the lab, near his desk in the direction he had seen the blob. Though ‘silent’ to him, it was giving off 18.98 HZ sound waves. That frequency happens to be very close to the resonating frequency of the human eyeball, and explains the bizarre distortions in vision. The waves, which were almost exactly the length of the lab, also explained people who got uneasy feelings there in general. After turning off the fan, a weight seemed to be lifted from the space, and work could be continued as usual.

In 2003 Richard Lord, an acoustic scientist at the National Physical Laboratory in England, set out to further explore the effects of Infrasound. He and his colleagues used a concert hall of test subjects, and added occasional infrasound into the performances without informing the guests of when.  22% of concert goers identified an increase in negative emotions during the parts of the show where infrasound was present. Complaints included unease, nausea, sorrow and panic. It seemed to illustrate that not everyone is effected the same by infrasound, and some may feel it’s effects more strongly.

Many things both natural and man made can cause infrasound. Whales, elephants, volcanos, nuclear bombs, and yes, even intense thunderstorms, can cause infrasound. One of the big complaints against wind turbine construction argues that the massive structures can cause infrasound that will effect surrounding communities. Infrasound is even used by the government to monitor nuclear activity in other countries. It is possible that infrasound is what warns many animals of oncoming natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Author Donnie Eichar believes that infrasound caused by a Karman Vortex Street could have been the cause of the untimely deaths of the Dyatlov hikers of Russia. A Karman Vortex Street is a bizarre phenomenon in fluid dynamics in which air/water/etc moves around a rounded or even object in a way that causes swirling vortices.

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These vortices can gain incredible speed and power, and today engineers and architects design structures with this in mind, making sure to add spirals, fins, or uneven sides to structures to prevent a KVS.

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As for the Dyatlov hikers, the mountain they were camping at the base of had an evenly rounded top, and some believe that if wind hit the mountain just right, it could have created these tornado like vortices. Hearing a roaring tornado bearing down on you would surely terrify anyone, but would it be enough to terrify the hikers out of their tent into certain death toward the roaring itself? Possibly, if the vortices were creating infrasound. The panic caused by the infrasound could have made the hikers irrational enough to flee their tent, improperly clothed, into the subzero night. I can attest to encountering that same inexplicable urge, fought back only by my realization that I was likely experiencing an explainable natural phenomenon. The hikers would have had no knowledge of infrasound or Karman Vortex Streets. They had always survived based on their instincts, which were now screaming at them to evacuate their tent.

The theory makes a lot of sense, more than any other put forth. Though it would have had to have been a bizarre set of coincidences to lead to the final deadly outcome, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

But if all of this is true, then hasn’t it essentially been proven that ghosts aren’t real, just products of low frequency sound waves resonating the human body? Well not quite. Infrasound has been located in several ‘haunted’ sites, but certainly not all. I will always maintain that the paranormal aspects of our world are simply things that haven’t been identified yet by science. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in ghosts of course. But it does mean that I am also very excited by the idea of discovering a frequency that resonates eyeballs into seeing ghosts!

Have any of you possibly experienced Infrasound? Let me know in the comments!

 

Boston’s Mysterious Vanishing Men (Follow Up)

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I want to start off by thanking everyone for the immense amount of interest and support that they have shown in the days since publishing my Boston’s Mysterious Vanishing Men blog post. I never expected it to go so viral, and the response has been surreal.

I have been contacted in various ways by friends and family of some of the men who’s stories were shared in that post, which was incredibly humbling. That being said, I want to reach out to those loved ones to tell them that if there is anything I have written that they wish me to change or omit, please contact me to do so. I have already been asked to do so and readily obliged. The last thing I want to do is cause more pain for those loved ones. I have NEVER stopped viewing these men as people. They are not just cases or statistics to me. They are individuals with stories, and in researching them for so many hours I have grown attached to them.

I have also been sent hundreds of stories of similar cases from across America, some even begging me to investigate. Unfortunately, I am all too aware of these other cases. The reason I chose to focus on Boston was because it is my home, and the place I am familiar with. But I also stuck to Boston because looking into the rest of the cases across the U.S. would probably consume the rest of my life. If you know of similar cases in your hometowns, I urge you to try to make your city safer in ways similar to my plans, which I will discuss shortly.

I have been asked a couple of times now what my goals or motives for this investigation are. All I have ever wanted to do is highlight cases that I have found interesting, to call them into question in case justice still needs to be sought, and to stop similar events from occurring in the future. I wanted to raise awareness to keep others safe. But I also want to try to relieve the stigma surrounding young men drinking and dying. For the cases in which that may apply, I want to remind people that everyone makes mistakes in their life. But these men should not have died, and their deaths were preventable.

Which leads to my next point: Where do we go from here?

My next goal is a multi-step plan to make the city safer. I am working with Someone who is drafting a letter for local bars along the water, asking them for safer and more conscientious business practices when serving alcohol. I will also be contacting several people in power asking for improvements to safety along the harbor. As it stands, the area near Long Wharf where several of the men went missing or were found dead is considerably unsafe. I want the installation of better guardrails, better lighting, more surveillance cameras, and hopefully even the hiring of several night guards trained in water rescue and CPR.

If these cases truly come down to men falling in the water, why shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to prevent it?

Now, there is the chance that these are not merely coincidences. As many of my readers have postulated, there is a chance that some of these men were killed. I have been overwhelmed by the eagerness to try to get to the bottom of the mystery (encouraging curiosity into the unknown was my intention of this blog!) and by the sleuthing taking place in the comments! I wanted to foster a place where people could discuss freely, so I tried to publish as many of the comments as possible. However, there have been a few which I have not felt comfortable allowing, mostly ones which speculate on personal facts on the individual men. I do not think that such unfounded speculation is helpful at this juncture, and furthermore I don’t want to offend loved ones of these men. The second kind of comment I have not been allowing are ones which try to create a profile of the ‘killer’.

While I appreciate the enthusiasm, I do not think this should be attempted by anyone but professionals, nor do I think we have enough info at this time to create a successful profile. My greatest fear is that this will turn into a witch hunt. I do not want to cause a hysteria that will result in hurting innocent people. So please refrain from trying to pin blame on a certain kind of person (uber drivers, truckers, etc.).

What needs to happen instead is everyone coming together to make Boston, or their own cities, safer! Everyone needs to use the buddy system. No one should drink to excess. If you feel uneasy, trust your gut. If you see something, say something! If you notice an intoxicated person, get them help! If we maintain vigilance, whatever is happening to these men will stop, one way or another.

In the coming weeks there may be petitions to sign and letters to write, so I hope that all of you that have shown such passion for these cases will be there then as well. It is only by working together that we can invoke change, and thanks to all of your sharing and raising awareness, that is now a very real possibility!

So thank you again everyone for helping me share these men’s stories.

-Elise Soper (CryptidAntiquarian)

Boston’s Mysterious Vanishing Men

To read Part 2 Click Here

To view an interactive map of all cases Click Here

If you were to hear of a young man disappearing after a night of partying and ending up dead in a river, you might be quick to call it a tragic accident. You might think it was common almost, for young foolish drunk men to die in this manner. But why would you think that? One possibility is that you have heard of the sheer number of cases that seem to indicate this scenario. But what if this isn’t what is occurring at all? What if something far more sinister is taking place?

The trouble with these cases, the thing that got my attention, is also the very thing that seems to make them so dismissible. They are incredibly predictable. In fact in many cases they are practically cookie cutter. But some are so similar that they seem to go far beyond coincidence.

After my obsession with unexplained missing persons cases was sparked by David Paulides (as chronicled in my last post) I couldn’t help but begin to notice them more, and then Dennis Njoroge went missing. I saw flyers posted all around Boston, his eyes following me daily, and my heart fell. I had a bad feeling in my gut as I began to connect him to other cases. I remember telling friends gravely that if the precedent was correct, he would be found dead in the Charles River.

One month after he went missing, Dennis was found in the Charles. The Police did not suspect foul play, but very little information has ever been made public (and not for lack of trying let me tell you).

I don’t know what happened to Dennis, and maybe the police and his family do. Maybe he was a troubled boy who met a tragic but self inflicted end that cold December night. The fact is I might never know the truth due to the privacy of the family, but regardless, Dennis sparked in me the desire to go back and examine other similar cases in my city. Other cases where the truth seems hard to come by.

I decided to begin my own investigation of sorts, and I’m going to use this page to track my findings and hopefully bounce ideas off of others who are interested.

Here are the cases I have found so far, showing name, age, and month/year missing.

John Daverio (49)  3/2003

Dustin Willis (26) 3/2007

William Hurley (24) 10/2009

Eugene Losik (26) 2/2010

David Mark (24) 2/2011

Franco Garcia (21) 2/2012

Jonathan Dailey (23) 10/2012

Eric Munsell (24) 2/2014

Josue Quispe (18) 10/2015

Dennis Njoroge (21) 11/2015

Zachary Marr (22) 2/2016

And now I will take a closer look at each of the cases.

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John Daverio was a beloved 49 year old teacher at Boston University. He was born in Philadelphia, and moved to Boston to get a PhD from BU. He later became the Chairman of the Department of Musicology there in 1987, a position he held until his death. He was considered one of the world’s leading experts on German Romanticism and Robert Schumann, whom he wrote several books about. (Ironically Schumann once attempted suicide by throwing himself into the Rhine river.) John was considered a happy man by all who knew him, and was lovingly caring for his elderly parents, indicating that suicide was unlikely.

Daverio was last seen on CCTV leaving the BU campus on the evening of March 16, 2003 at around 8:30pm, wearing a red jacket. He had left his wallet and briefcase behind in the classroom, but was carrying a white bag which was never found. After being missing nearly a month, his body was found in the Charles River on April 14, 2003, near the Cambridge Boathouse. Police did not suspect foul play, but his death has never been explained. Those close to him refused to believe he would commit suicide.

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Dustin ‘Dusty’ Willis was from Hatteras, North Carolina. He became a PO3/E4 petty officer and Engineer in the Navy and was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, as a crewman aboard the S.S. Donald Cook. Dustin was a musician, and was married but seperated, with a five year old son.

When Dustin was 26 the Donald Cook docked in Boston for Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. On the night of March 16th 2007 there were blizzard conditions in Boston. Dustin was out with his shipmate friends at the Black Rose Pub near Quincy Market. On their way out at around 11pm, Dustin’s shipmates lost sight of him in the storm. Friends state that he was sober at the time. He had spoken with his girlfriend several times that evening, and she confirmed this. When she called his phone the final time that evening a person that was not Dustin answered, and told her that they had found his phone. Dustin’s phone was found at about 1am on the ground near Long Wharf, but there was no sign of Dustin.

On March 21st Dustin’s body was found in 22 feet of water off Long Wharf, steps away from where his phone was found. Police surmised that he had simply become disorientated by the blizzard and slipped into the harbor.

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William Hurley was a Navy sailor from North Carolina. He was stationed in Florida. On a stop in Boston in 2007 he met his girlfriend, and the two began dating. (Ironically he was in Boston the very same night that Dustin Willis went missing.) That December he moved from Florida to Quincy to live with her. William was invited by his friend Brendan Venti to attend a Bruins game at the TD Garden on October 8th 2009. However after only the first period and a couple of beers, he claimed he was tired from work, and was going to have his girlfriend pick him up. William stepped outside and called her, and she headed to pick him up. When she was close by she asked where he was. William asked a passerby who answered “99 Nashua Street”, and warned his girlfriend his phone was about to die. She told him she would be there in a moment and was just around the corner, then William’s phone died. When she got to the location, William wasn’t there. She drove around looking for him and asking people if they had seen him, but it was as if he had vanished into thin air. The search for William Hurley began but little leads were found. At some point his cellphone was found smashed, but Police released few details.

On October 14th William’s body was found at about 2:30am in the Charles River near 200 Nashua Street, 25 feet from shore. Police ruled out a mugging gone wrong as he had no injuries and his wallet and keys were still on him. Suffolk District Attorney Spokesman Jake Wark was quoted as saying the body had been in the water “a couple of days”. Perhaps it was a simple mistake, but William had been missing for six days, not a couple.

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Eugene ‘Gene’ Losik was born in Belarus, and moved to the US when he was 7. He was an engineering grad of UMass Amherst, and a black belt in karate. He was 25 years old, living in Lawrence with his girlfriend and working for a company called Raytheon. On February 20th 2010 Gene was in the city celebrating a friend’s birthday. The group was staying at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel. After a night of partying, Gene was caught on CCTV at 2:24am leaving out the back entrance of the hotel without a jacket. He was heading into Christopher Columbus park, and friends say he was relatively sober and may have been stepping out for a cigarette. When friends awoke the next day they realized Gene was gone, and began to search. Police were led down to the docks by various scent dogs, and the water was searched by divers, but Gene was not found.

Nearly nine months later, on November 8th, Gene’s body was found near Rowes Wharf in the Boston Harbor. His cause of death is still unknown. Also unknown is why his body wasn’t found for six months, as drowning forensics indicate that it should have surfaced sooner. Some say it could have been weighted down, but the truth may never be known.

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David Mark grew up in New York and had a Masters in Geography from the University of Albany. David had Type 1 Diabetes and was insulin dependent, and also had Aspergers. He was 24 when he went missing. On March 2nd 2011 David left the home where he lived with his parents in Albany and drove to Boston, where his sister lived in the Chestnut Hill area. David went and ate at Boston Beer Works near Fenway and had a few drinks. Employees said he was in good spirits. David never showed up at his sister’s house, and never returned home to Albany. The search for him was underway fast, as his parents knew he could Get sick without his insulin. His car was found several days later in Chestnut Hill, at 10 Middlesex Rd. but there was no sign of David. His phone was last pinged at around 6:40 in Boston, near the Charleston Naval Yard.

On March 8th a Boston fishing company found David’s body in the Chelsea River, downstream from the Andrew McArdle Bridge, 15 feet from shore. Police said there was no signs of trauma. His cause of death was not made public, but police say it was not foul play.

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Franco Garcia grew up in West Newton with his Peruvian parents. He was attending a Boston College night school and studying chemistry, hoping to eventually go on to medical school. He worked full time at a CVS pharmacy in Waltham, and was musically gifted. On February 21st 2012 Franco was out with friends at Mary Ann’s Bar in Cleveland Circle. He was 21 at the time. He had made plans to spend the night with his friend Katherine Corteselli, though he flitted between several friend groups over the course of the evening. At 11:27pm he texted her a reminder: “Don’t leave without me”. Sometime after 12:15am friends lost sight of Franco, though his keys and jacket were still in the bar. At 12:18am Franco was caught on CCTV passing by an atm and heading toward Chestnut Hill Reservoir, and the area where his car was parked. He was not staggering, and friends described him as drunk but not smashed. His phone was last pinged about an hour later in the same area, but his car was left untouched. A huge search for Franco began, and his story was even shared by Bruce Springsteen. Police focused their search on the reservoir almost immediately, and searched it thoroughly, but nothing was found.

On April 11th at around 8am, Franco’s body was spotted in the weeds about 18 feet offshore in the reservoir. His wallet was still on him, and he had no injuries. Police described his death as being “consistent with an accidental fall into the water” but failed to elaborate on what that meant or why he wasn’t found before.

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Jonathan Dailey (FB)

Jonathan Dailey grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and played violin and piano. He studied architectural technology at Appalachian State University, and later moved to Massachusetts with friend and roommate Miles Smith. Jonathan was 23 and attending a grad program at Boston Architectural College, but was taking a semester off for financial reasons. The night of October 2nd 2012, he and Miles hung out and had pizza until Miles went to bed around 9. The next morning Jonathan was gone. He had left behind everything but his phone. Though attempts were made to reach him he never answered, and his phone was soon shut off.

On October 9th at about 7:30am, a rowing instructor near Boston University (about a mile from Jonathan’s Allston apartment) made a startling discovery in the in the Charles River. Jonathan’s body was tied with chains to a cinderblock at the bottom of the river. Police assured the public that there was no threat to safety, and implied that Jonathan had committed suicide. He had no history of mental illness.

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Eric Munsell was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He went to Boston University and got a degree in aerospace engineering. He was working as an aviation engineer at General Electric, and was pursuing a Masters in mechanical engineering via the Edison Engineering Program. On February 8th 2014, Eric was celebrating his 24th birthday at the Market Lounge. He was escorted out by a bouncer at about 11:30pm for causing a disturbance on his way to the restroom. It was only 18 degrees out, but according to the bouncer Eric claimed not to have a jacket. A half hour later his phone was pinged heading toward the Harbor and not his North End apartment. He was caught on CCTV near the Marriott Long Wharf.

On April 23 at about 12:30pm Eric’s body was found in the water at the end of Long Wharf. Police did not find his death suspicious. Why he supposedly walked to Long Wharf then proceeded to fall into the water and drown is unexplained.

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Josue Quispe-Almendro was a runner, a photographer, and a religious young man. He lived in Malden with his tight knit family and was just 18 when he went missing. Josue was out running errands with his brother on October 17th 2015. He dropped his sibling off at a Bed Bath and Beyond in Somerville at about 4:30pm. He failed to return home or answer his phone. His car was found then next day at 10pm in Quincy.

Josue’s body was found washed up on Saquish Beach in Plymouth on November 12th. The cause of death was not released but police said foul play was not suspected. How Josue got all the way to Plymouth is unknown.

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Dennis Njoroge was born in Kenya, and moved with his mother to Worcester MA. He was attending Northeastern University and was an aspiring filmmaker who loved Quentin Tarantino and playing basketball. Dennis was excited to soon start a co-op job at a Boston News Station. He was 21 years old. On November 29th friends saw Dennis playing basketball at the Marino Center on Northeastern’s campus. This was verified by his keycard swipes. The next day he spoke to his mother on the phone, a conversation that she felt was perfectly normal. After that Dennis did not show up for classes, and did not respond to his mother. His phone was last pinged at around 2am on the MIT Campus in Cambridge.

On December 31st at 10am Dennis’ body was found by a jogger in the Charles River on the Boston side, near the esplanade and Arthur Fiedler Footbridge. The location is directly across from the MIT campus. There was no signs of trauma, and police were investigating the death as a “non-homicide”.

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Zachary Marr (UPDATED) grew up in Harvard MA. He was celebrating his 22nd birthday with his cousins at the Bell in Hand Tavern on February 13th 2016. At about 1:30 he went outside for a cigarette, leaving his coat behind. At 1:40 he sent a snapchat to his cousin Amanda Marr that said “They won’t let me back in, lets leave”. She agreed to come out. However when they got outside Zach was gone. According to CCTV and bouncer statements, Zach never asked to come back inside. He was caught on CCTV at 1:44 walking past Boston Public Market, heading in the direction of TD Garden and Zakim Bridge. Police later found CCTV footage of Zachary “entering” the water under the Zakim (this footage has not been released). It is unclear what that meant precisely, but teams immediately began to search the water in the area. Nothing was found, possibly due to extremely low visibility. Several more searches were conducted with similar results in that area of the Charles River. On March 15th 2016 at about 5:45pm passerby’s noticed a body in the water by the Museum of Science Boston and (ironically) the Leverett Circle State Police Barracks. It was Zachary. His body was found in a location consistent with previous searches. Why he left the Bell in Hand and walked about a mile to the Charles is still unknown.

Some more thoughts on Zach Marr

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I made a visualization of where the victims were last seen vs where their bodies were found.

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I think its particularly beneficial to take a closer look in the financial district.

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The proximities of these establishments is incredible.

Furthermore, many of the the victims are related in other ways.

  • William Hurley, Dustin Willis, and Jonathan Dailey were all from North Carolina.
  • Willis and Hurley were both in the Navy.
  • Willis, Gene Losik, and Eric Munsell were all engineers. Franco Garcia was studying chemistry.
  • Garcia, Willis, Dailey, and John Daverio were all musically talented. Josue Quispe was a photographer and Dennis Njoroge was a filmmaker.

Furthermore some cases seem bizarrely linked.

Dustin Willis was a NC native who joined the Navy and was in Boston March 16 2007. William Hurley was a NC born Navy man who was in Boston that same night, and would disappear two years after Willis. Both were talking on the phone to their girlfriends seconds before vanishing. Both men’s phones were later found.

Eric Munsell was removed from a bar on his birthday without his coat, possibly told a bouncer that he didn’t have one, and vanished into the night. Zachary Marr walked out of a bar without a coat two years later on his birthday, and told his friends that he wasn’t being allowed back inside. Both were later caught on CCTV.

I can’t claim to know just now what any of this might mean. all I can do is present the puzzle pieces that we currently have, but I know we are still missing far too many.

What I am certain of is that something terrible is happening to people all over the country, maybe the world, and the Boston cases are only a small sampling of it. I hope that someday this mystery can be solved to prevent future deaths, and pain for their families. Until then I urge everyone to make sure that YOU are not the next victim. Do not go out alone. Do not go near the water alone. And if possible, avoid wearing the color red. It’s a color that shows up often in David Paulides’ missing persons cases, and William Hurley and John Daverio were both wearing it when they vanished.

More On Zachary Marr

Part 2